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The first stage will be the creation of a platform in the hillside in a central part of the garden.
Botanic garden team leader Alan Matchett said the new addition would feature hardier plants from higher altitude areas of Mediterranean countries that would withstand Dunedin's non-Mediterranean climate.
‘‘It completes the picture for us for our plant collections. We base our plant collections on continents and geographical areas and the Mediterranean area is one with a huge number of plants grown around it.''
Mr Matchett said staff had compiled a plant list that included hundreds of species already growing at the garden or available in New Zealand.
Construction of the viewing plaza was due to be finished by the end of June and planting by the end of November. The opening was set down for next February.
The approximate $230,000 cost is being met by two bequests and fundraising by Friends of the Garden.